The nomination of Priscilla Owen gives Republicans an excellent chance to show voters what Democrats consider “outside the mainstream.” Democrats oppose Owen because she opined that a minor should have consulted her parents before getting an abortion. The minor had not claimed that her parents would abuse her if she told them beforehand. She just didn’t want them to know until afterwards.
I believe mainstream America wants their daughters to talk to them before making such a momentous decision.
I also believe that mainstream America prefers adoption to abortion. The majority opinion, from which Owen dissented, sanctioned the idea that abortion is preferable to adoption. The majority argued that adoption would be emotionally difficult for this minor, because she would become attached to the baby once it was born. This is not a mainstream position.
Here are the details:
Democrats filibustering Owen’s nomination point to this dissent by Owen in a case applying Texas’ judicial bypass law. (For further discussion, see this post.) The Jane Doe in this case was a minor who wanted to obtain an abortion without telling her parents. She did not claim that telling her parents would lead to physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. She didn’t even claim that telling them wouldn’t be in her best interest. She just said that she was sufficiently mature and well-informed to make the decision herself, without input from her parents.
The trial judge disagreed, specifically finding that Doe was not sufficiently well-informed regarding the potential consequences of her decision, and the available alternatives. The Court of Appeals agreed with the trial judge. And Justice Owen agreed as well.
This, in Democrats’ eyes, is her crime.
Understand clearly that Justice Owen did not rule that Doe was not entitled to an abortion. She simply believed that, under Texas law, Doe’s parents should be consulted beforehand. Justice Owen wrote that the trial judge who had heard Doe testify was in the best position to judge whether she was sufficiently mature and well-informed to make this decision without her parents’ input.
Owen argued that the trial judge had evidence justifying his conclusion that the minor was not sufficently mature to make this decision on her own. The record certainly seems to support this. Doe didn’t want to tell her parents in large part because she was afraid her parents would cut off her money supply:
Doe is a senior in high school and still lives at home. Her parents provide for substantially all her needs. They recently purchased a new vehicle for her use now and when she goes to college in the fall. Although some of Doe’s earnings from a part-time job help to defray the cost of insurance, Doe’s parents are paying for this vehicle. Doe also contemplates that her parents will pay for her college education. When asked why she did not want to tell either of her parents that she was pregnant and intended to have an abortion, Doe testified that it would upset them because they do not “believe in abortion.” A pregnant minor’s desire not to upset her parents is not a basis for concluding as a matter of law that she is mature. See In re T.P., 475 N.E.2d 312, 315 (Ind. 1985). But the more telling testimony is that Doe said that she feared that her parents would no longer provide financial assistance to her if they knew that she had an abortion. She testified that she intended to tell them some day that she had an abortion “when she was ready.” A reasonable inference from this testimony is that after Doe’s parents have paid most of her living, transportation, and education expenses over the next few years, she will tell them the truth, when there will be fewer consequences to face.
(All emphasis in this post is mine.)
Doe simply wanted to use an abortion as an immature way to avoid facing up to the consequences of her decision to have sex. And she didn’t want her parents to know, because they might stop paying for her expenses. A judge said she wasn’t sufficiently mature and well-informed to make this decision without talking to her parents first. Justice Owen agreed.
I think that mainstream Americans would also agree.
Justice Owen also noted the trial court’s finding (upheld by the Court of Appeals) that Doe had not been adequately advised about the alternative of adoption:
Doe did not, or was not able to, explain what she understood might be involved in an adoption. She expressed concern that if her child were placed for adoption, she would not be able to determine if it was placed in a loving home and given adequate care. Doe was clearly uninformed about the screening required before a child is placed in the home of prospective parents or the continued supervision after the child is placed. Similarly, she did not exhibit any understanding about open adoption, even though a witness from Planned Parenthood whom Doe had never met or talked to testified at the hearing that open adoption was an option.
Incredibly, the majority had been unswayed by this argument, ruling that the benefits of adoption were “immaterial.” The majority accepted the theory that adoption was not a realistic alternative for Doe, because Doe might get attached to the baby and want to keep it. Here is the appalling language of the majority opinion:
[E]ven though there may be generally recognized benefits to an alternative, those benefits must be considered in light of the minor’s particular situation. According to Doe’s testimony, adoption was not a realistic option for her because she would grow emotionally attached to the child after birth and would be unwilling to give the child up. Doe’s testimony shows that she does not perceive any benefits to carrying a baby to term in her current situation. The undeniable benefits of adoption the court of appeals identified are thus, to Doe, immaterial.
With this language, the Texas Supreme Court legitimized the reprehensible notion that abortion may be superior to adoption because it is emotionally easier on the mother. In essence, Doe had told the trial judge: “If I had the baby, I might get attached to it and want to keep it. Better to kill it.” Out of sight, out of mind.
I could be wrong, but I don’t think mainstream America thinks this is a good reason for a 17-year-old child to have an abortion.
What about the idea that the parents could raise the baby? Well, Doe apparently never considered that possibility — because she didn’t talk to her parents about it. Owen explains that the evidence in the case demonstrated that
Doe did not consider whether her parents would help her raise the child or raise it themselves if she decided to carry her baby to term. Similarly, Doe expressed concern about her ability to provide financial support for her child, but she did not indicate that she had considered whether her parents would support her and her child if she decided to have it.
The public has a right to know just how radical Democrats can be when they are bowing and scraping to the wild-eyed ideologues of the abortion lobby. So don’t shy away from this battle, Republicans. It’s an important one.